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Biography and Reviews

Was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in the United States after the Manhattan premiere of his Holocaust Requiem under Lukas Foss in 1990.

Concerts devoted entirely to Ronald Senator’s music have been given in New York (1990, 1998, 2001) , London (1989,1997), Sydney (1978), Moscow (1993) , St. Petersburg (1991), and his music has been broadcast worldwide on radio and TV.

Ronald Senator has composed six operas and musicals on texts by notable modern authors including Anthony Burgess, Peter Porter, and Ursula Vaughan Williams. Many of his chamber works are composed for eminent colleagues, like the singers Sybil Michelow, Jane Manning, Willard White, the violist Rivka Golani, the clarinetist Stanley Drucker or the pianist Miriam Brickman, the composer’s wife. A detailed list of his musical compositions is given in the Catalog.

As an author, Ronald Senator has been acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic for his Requiem Letters, “a deeply moving and haunting autobiographical memoir” [US Publishers Weekly], soon to be adapted for radio and theater starring Judi Dench and Robert Rieti.

Dr. Senator studied at Oxford University (1944-47) with Egon Wellesz, the distinguished pupil of Arnold Schoenberg, and later (1955-58) with Arnold Cooke, a pupil of Paul Hindemith, at London University, where he became a Senior Lecturer in Music. In 1981 he became Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music, and also received several visiting Professorships at leading universities in Australia, the USA and Canada. Like his “grandfather” teacher Arnold Schoenberg, Ronald Senator has established an international reputation not only as a composer but also as a leading innovator in musical education. His now classic work on the universal operations of music, elucidated in his book “The Gaia of Music” , had a practical counterpart in his system of musical education called Musicolor . This was developed in a program at London University sponsored by the UK Social Science Research Council, and involved many teachers at every level of education. The system has been used extensively in schools and colleges, and was the subject of two BBC documentaries.

Senator was a founding member of the Montserrat Composers’ Association for Sacred Music, which was initiated with the support of renowned composers like Stravinsky, Messiaen, André Jolivet and Penderecki. He was also the founding director of the National Association of Music Theatre (UK). He now commutes between New York and London. Ronald Senator’s incidental music includes the Peter Greenaway film “Lightning” and the US premiere of the Felix Mitterer play “Siberia”. .

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*** See also the entry in Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, New Edition 2000

From the Reviews

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